Firing finger at the ready, here’s The Apprentice

Thursday:The Apprentice; (BBC One, 9pm)

Baroness Brady, Lord Sugar and Tim Campbell MBE
Baroness Brady, Lord Sugar and Tim Campbell MBE

It’s a sound many of us have missed during the pandemic – the dark and brooding Dance of the Knights tune from Prokofiev’s ballet, Romeo and Juliet.

Well, it will be ringing in your ears over the next 12 weeks as The Apprentice makes a welcome return to our screens after a two-year break.

Although most of the usual elements of the business show will be in place again, there is one significant change.

Former winner Tim Campbell is joining the series as one of Lord Sugar’s aides.

He is standing in for Claude Littner who has not been able to take part in filming following a serious accident while riding an electric bike near his Mill Hill home in London.

Tim will join Baroness Karren Brady with Lord Sugar saying: “My former winner Tim Campbell will step into Claude’s seat and be my eyes and ears as the candidates face a tough set of business challenges.”

When The Apprentice was last on air in late 2019, Carina Lepore ended up securing an investment in her artisan bakehouse.

Now, with Britain tentatively reopening (and, in some cases reclosing again) after the Covid-19 pandemic, Lord Sugar has another wad of £250,000 burning a hole in his sizeable pockets.

He also has his firing finger at the ready, as the current crop of 16 contestants arrive with their wheelie suitcases and check into the luxury flat.

To prove he means business, Lord Sugar summons the aspiring entrepreneurs to his boardroom where he kicks off proceedings with a task like no other.

Under the watchful eyes of Karren and Tim, the candidates are thrown in at the deep end as they set sail from Portsmouth on board a luxury cruise ship.

Their task is to come up with marketing campaigns for a new cruise liner, including creating a brand and a TV advert.

One team’s approach to design is far from plain sailing, while on the other team, discord during the advert filming leads to choppy waters.

Later, both teams attempt to cruise into the lead when pitching their ad campaigns to industry experts, but they end up with that sinking feeling.

Back on dry land in the boardroom, Lord Sugar is on the lookout for answers and it’s man or woman overboard for one candidate when they’re the first to hear those dreaded words: “You’re Fired!”

It looks set to be a busy year for Lord Sugar and the team – the BBC have reportedly started work on a further two series of The Apprentice.

The business mogul previously suggested he planned to step down after making it to 20 series. “We would have been doing series 16 this year and I was happy to do four more,” he said last year.

“Of course, it is the BBC who will decide if they wish to do it. I fully understand they are in charge but if they wanted to do it, I think 20 years is a nice round figure.”

In addition, there will also be an Apprentice special to celebrate the Beeb’s 100th anniversary in 2022.

The iconic theme tune will be all over the TV schedules, as will the usual bickering and backbiting from the pretentious candidates, and Lord Sugar’s appallingly cheesy gags.

It’s great to be back in the boardroom, isn’t it.

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